Jun 2, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher David Phelps (41) reacts after loading the bases against the Seattle Mariners during the seventh inning of a game at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Bronx is Boiling: Pitching Problems


Well, the week wasn’t terrible. The Yankees strung four wins together to start of a six game west cast trip. They even defeated the Oakland A’s stud pitcher Sonny Gray 7-0. Then the wheels came off and they lost the last two games of the weekend by a combined score of 15-6.

Monday is a travel day as the Yankees head home for a huge home stand against AL East foes the Toronto Blue Jays and Baltimore Orioles. Sitting at 35-33, the Yanks are tied with the O’s for second place while both are trailing the Canadian National Team by four and a half games. What can the Yankees do to get over the hump? The Bronx is boiling folks, and I need to blow some steam.

WHAT CAN BE DONE WITH THE YANKEES PITCHING STAFF

When the fourth inning ended Sunday, and the Yankees trailed 10-0, Yankees fans across social media wanted Vidal Nuno’s pink slip waiting for him in the clubhouse. I was one of them, I feel like this guy should have been DFA’d weeks ago, and in fact, I wrote an article about it. However, if he were to be optioned back to the minors or released, what better options do the Yankees have?

There is currently not one quality major league ready arm sitting at any level of the Yankees minor league system. That includes Alfredo Aceves. Every Yankees fan needs to wipe clean from their memory that one good season he had because he has never had another one. You can’t honestly believe the Red Sox would let Aceves go and just sign with the Yankees without putting up a fight if this guy had anything desirable left in his arm. So, with no quality arms in the minors, that means the Yankees need to put together a trade and acquire someone.

There are a lot of good pitchers entering their pending free agency within the next one or two off seasons. Take David Price or James Shields for example. Price would be hard to get being on an AL East rival, but when it comes to the Yankees check book, you can never rule anything out of the question. There have even been some Jon Lester rumors throughout the blogosphere.

In order to get one of these type of season changing pitchers, the Yankees would need to offer prospect that has can’t miss qualities. You can argue that Gary Sanchez, the top Yankees’ prospect, possesses those qualities, however, he has been benched for the last five games for disciplinary reasons. The issues haven’t been released to the public. That is going to be a tough sell. After Sanchez, there are huge question marks surrounding every other Yankee top ten prospect. That means it most likely would take two or three top prospects to get a pitcher worth depleting the farm more than it already has been.

That means the Yankees need to work with what they have. If Michael Pineda can’t work his way back (which by the way Yankees fans, it’s not looking like he can) that leaves three holes in the rotation until CC Sabathia returns. Right now, Chase Whitley looks like he has the third spot behind Masahiro Tanaka and Hiroki Kuroda locked down, but remember, it is still a small sample size. There is talk that the Yankees should move Adam Warren to the rotation.

This is a possibility, however, who will take his spot. He seems to be settling in with his new found set-up to the set-up man role. They tried that move with Phil Hughes and it did not translate well. And it just so happens that Hughes is not that bad a pitcher, as we are learning this season.

So, what is the answer to the question, what can be done with the Yankees pitching staff? The answer is seemingly nothing. We need to be patient and deal with the stinkers like Nuno threw today, and wait for the dominant performances like David Phelps had Friday night hurling 6.2 shutout innings after allowing 13 runs over his previous 11.2. If the Yankees take Nuno out of the rotation and insert Warren, then we, as Yankees fans, need to be patient, and wait as Phelps and Warren mature into consistent starters. That takes time and in the Bronx, time is something our franchise doesn’t have.

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Tags: Adam Warren Bronx David Phelps New York Yankees Vidal Nuno

  • Jimmy DeMarco

    Yes, the Yankees absolutely need an arm in this rotation. Yes, Nuno should have been gone after his 3rd outing when he couldn’t finish the 5th inning.
    What I do disagree with is your part about a major league ready arm in the system.

    Let’s remember, Whitley was a reliever, not a SP. And he wasn’t even on the top prospects radar list before the season started. And he wasn’t even stretched out when he first came up. It took him 3 starts before Joe was comfortable with him going longer in games.

    As for alternatives, whether or not they’re ready Ramirez, Bleich and De La Cruz are all options for this year.

    If the rumblings about stretching out Warren and putting him into the rotation, it’s ludicrous. Montgomery was demoted, he’s not a long man. Burawa is definitely a viable candidate for the pen, again though, not someone to get multiple innings out of.
    And in reality, along with DFAing Nuno, they would probably have to put Phelps back in the pen for that true long man. Girardi loves having pitchers like that in his pen. And if someone is going to tell me that Huff is the guy, please. He did do a good job last year, up until his start when he got rocked. And his numbers in Sf this year were not very good.

    So saying no one in the system is major league ready, that’s a little misleading. Because most people said the exact same thing when cc and Pineda were reported as being out for a long time. And last I checked, Whitley is doing pretty good. Can they catch lightning in a bottle twice, who knows. But anything is better than Nuno at this point.

    • Wayne Cavadi

      Thanks for chiming in, you know I love other points of view.

      Bleich is on his way, I agree with you there. He has already been promoted and while he got a little banged up in his first SWB go at it (4 runs) he was able to keep them in the game. Stretch him out a little longer and by the All-Star Break he will be with the Yankees. Bullpen or rotation, I can’t answer that. Still, he will be a work in progress.

      I don’t like Warren in the rotation any more than you do. I don’t like Huff being brought back and I don’t understand this Heath Bell nonsense. Whitley does not come as a surprise to me, I did a piece on him in spring training and knew he had the stuff. It is a long season however, and we don’t know how long this will last. I’m not saying he is going to fall off a cliff, but let’s be patient.

      De La Cruz is nothing more than an innings eater at this point, which in all honesty, you are correct, the Yankees need. But he has been abysmal since his promotion to Triple A. His control is now questionable and that was one of his strengths on the lower level.

      We shall see. Only time will tell. Thanks again for reading!

  • natcol

    In the last 48.1 IPs (7 starts) in Triple-A, Chien-Ming Wang is having a 2.42 ERA. Unlike last year, when his sinkers suddenly lost the magic, there’s virtually nothing left in the repertoire, he is now pitching with more than 30% change-ups and breaking stuff (curveballs and sliders).

    Being an ex-Yankees elite pitcher, I think he deserves at least some consideration for a spot as a longman.

    • Wayne Cavadi

      Interesting. I did watch him pitch earlier this season against SWB and he did have back-to-back 19 winner moments in that game. I like the idea. It can’t be any worse.

  • japester

    Pitching is only the start. There is no guarantee that the right side of the infield won’t spend more time on the DL rather than fielding balls. The Captain has lost a step or 2 but still can swing it. And my last two words on the infield defence, Kelly Johnson.